Social innovations, i.e. new social practices, are everywhere and largely influence our lives: they change the rules of the game in business, civil society and politics. With social innovations, we can design social practices that are more beneficial, sustainable or just.

But what are social innovations? And what effects can they have? This course is an introduction to the topic. You will gain an overview of what social innovations are, how they function and how they can be developed.

Go to: Social Innovation Online Course

About the course:

What will I learn?

You will learn what social innovations are and understand how they can help solve societal problems. You will get an overview of important literature and debates on social innovation.

You will also learn and apply methods to develop, implement and scale social innovations. Exercises will allow you to apply the methods, develop your own ideas and gather first-hand experiences.

What do I need to know?

This is an introductory course. Previous knowledge is not required. The course is designed for people interested in understanding and/or designing societal change.

Course Structure

This is a self-paced course. This means that once the course initially begins, you can make your way through the course chapters at your own pace, without time pressure or deadlines.

Chapter 1: A New Innovation Paradigm

In this chapter, you will learn what “social innovation” means. You will get an overview of how social innovations can be developed and implemented. Also, we explain the differences between all the “social” something-concepts like social business, social entrepreneurship, and corporate social responsibilities.

Chapter 2: The Spectrum of Social Innovation

There are different forms and formats of social innovation. Gain an overview of the variety of social innovations in this chapter. Specifically, you learn about social innovations that origin in civil society, business, and the social sector. Moreover, you will learn about cross-sector social innovations.

Chapter 3: Broaden your Horizon: Questioning the Existing and Recognising Challenges

Social innovators see opportunities where others see problems. Learn to change your perspective in order to recognise opportunities to solve societal problems with social innovations.

Chapter 4: Designing and Implementing Social Innovations: Tools

Design Thinking and Lean Start-up will help you to design social innovations together with your (future) beneficiaries. Furthermore, you learn how you can convince others by using effective storytelling.

Chapter 5: Designing and Implementing Social Innovations: Learning from Others

You will learn how others developed and implemented social innovations and how they learned to overcome resistance. Also, you learn about typical mechanisms of social value creation.

Chapter 6: Impact and Vision

In this chapter, you learn how to analyse the impact of social innovations and how you can increase the impact of social innovations using specific strategies of scaling and replication. Also, our experts will provide some suggestions and tips for future social innovators.

„Wenn am letzten Wochenende in New York verabschiedeten Sustainable Development Goals Erfolg haben sollen, braucht es die richtigen rechtlichen Rahmenbedingungen, aber auch Unternehmen, die soziale und ökologische Regeln nicht als lästige Hemmschuhe sehen, sondern als Voraussetzung für eine Wirtschaft in der Zukunft, die allen, auch den jetzt Benachteiligten, ein gutes Leben ermöglicht. Wir brauchen unternehmerische Kreativität und Innovationskraft, die diesem Ziel dient.“

Prof. Dr. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Ratsvorsitzender der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland im Rahmen einer Podiumsdiskussion beim „New Horizons“-Kongress diese Woche in Passau.

Hierin steckt gerade auf globaler Ebene in der Kooperation zwischen Staat, Unternehmen und zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen eine ganze Menge Potential…

Mehr zur Agenda 2030: